Been busy writing to the Exmouth Journal Editor again, the council at Budleigh seems hell bent on taking an honest living away from the local traders by allowing the local antiques and flea market to sell fresh produce and meat. Read my letter hear:
I felt obliged to comment after the article “Traders get a flea in their ear” in this weeks Journal. It never ceases to amaze me, how a group of people who are supposedly elected to support and work for their local constituents can score such “monumental home goals”. The reported comment from Councillor Kitson, “We are being bullied along by the retailers who do not want competition”, left me speechless. How is it possible for an elected officer of the council to make such a crass and ill judged comment? How can he classify a group of people from outside of the area, who pay no business rates to EDDC, employ no local staff, put nothing into the local economy and trade in a building whose running costs are partly funded from the rates of those they trade against be classed as “fair competition”. It was a shame that councillor Jones was a “lone voice in the wilderness” against the sale of fresh produce, yet how can the local council allow the sale of foodstuffs, especially meat, without all of the health and hygiene regimes being in place? Why should local traders be forced to comply with the complex and draconian rules and regulations that control their trading, whilst seeing the public hall used as a venue for outsiders to flout those self same rules? It seems to me, that Councillor Kitson’s “win, win, win situation” is one in which the Council wins and the traders lose. Why should any of the high street traders see products sold at the “flea market” in competition with their own goods? The flea market should be merely for antiques and bric a brac. Not food or new goods.
We see the same thing happening locally in Exmouth, with both the “Farmers Market” and the proliferation of “Charity Shops”, many now openly selling “new goods” whilst being afforded rating subsidies by the council.
Do we want the charm and diversity of Budleigh’s shopping environment to become the “sterile wasteland” that is shopping in Exmouth? Do we want any more empty shops in the high street? NO of course we don’t, so if we cannot knock sense into the local council, let us at least vote with our feet at the “flea market”, by all means let us go there and shop with those who sell the goods for which “flea markets” are renowned, but let us ignore the purveyors of goods we can buy from local trades people and support the high street. Yes it may be a fraction more expensive on occasion, but we must remember that the local traders are there for us, 52 weeks a year and they put their money back into the local economy, lets keep it that way and be there for them
I shall continue to publish interesting snippets from Budleigh in the near future....